Student Placement & Assessment

Student Placement

School district personnel try hard to maintain class sizes that are reasonable and allow for individual and small group instruction.

Assignment to a classroom is made after professional consideration of each individual child by the building principal and his/her staff. We take into consideration such factors as class size, gender of students, learning styles, ability and achievement, learning or emotional challenges, and peer relationships. We discourage parental requests asking that a child be placed with a specific teacher. If extenuating circumstances exist, please submit a written request to the building principal. This request should provide specific reasons and a thorough explanation of the child’s needs. Such a request will be considered if the reasons given do not conflict with the criteria for placement stated above.

Lake Forest School District 67 recommends that, to enter kindergarten, children should be five years of age on or before September 1st of their kindergarten year. To enter first grade, children should be six years of age on or before September 1st of their first grade year.

Parents whose children turn five years of age between September 1 and October 31 of their kindergarten year can request consideration for early entrance if their child’s abilities are highly accelerated and skill levels across all major domains are commensurate with what is expected of entering kindergartners. The same process applies to students enrolling in first grade, whose birthdays fall between September 1 and October 31 of their first grade year.

To view the District's Early Entrance Procedures, including the steps to request consideration for Early Entrance, please visit the Policies and Procedures page of the website.

ELEMENTARY Schools

Elementary school teachers may group children of similar readiness levels together when appropriate. We encourage teachers to utilize flexible grouping that is responsive to student performance data. Throughout the school year, students will experience a variety of peer groups (e.g., mixed ability groups, like-ability groups, interest-based groups, topic-specific groups, etc.). Teachers will differentiate instruction and learning targets so that they align with student needs.

In order to help support teachers in their efforts to differentiate learning, we employ a number of specialists who collaborate with homeroom teachers. For example, we have Reading and Math Specialists, Learning Behavior Specialists (i.e., Special Education Teachers), Speech and Language Pathologists, Social Workers, Teaching and Learning Facilitators, Teacher Assistants, and Advanced Learning Specialists.
Grades K-2 Enrichment Services

Each elementary school has an Advanced Learning Specialist (AL Specialist). The classroom teacher is the children’s main source of enrichment but the AL Specialist plays a critical role and assists with teaching, materials, and strategies for advanced learners. The AL Specialist plans and works with each classroom teacher to recognize and develop children’s strengths. The AL Specialist focuses on higher level thinking skills and brings depth to content areas. The AL Specialist works with changing groups of students who demonstrate, through classroom performance, the need for learning extensions in core subjects. These flexible experiences may occur outside or within the classroom. The AL Specialist supports teachers with differentiating instruction and developing rigorous activities to meet children’s learning needs and help them grow.

Grades 3-4 Advanced Math Courses

The school district has an extensive review process, which identifies students whose academic performance and aptitude require highly advanced programming. Students who demonstrate above grade level proficiency, strong abstract reasoning, complex problem solving skills, deep analytic abilities, and keen insights on assessments may be recommended for subject acceleration. Math 3/4 (for third graders) and Math 4/5 (for fourth graders) are available for students who meet the entrance criteria. The courses provide above grade level content to students who have consistently demonstrated a need for accelerated programming.

These classes are not capped at a certain number nor percentage of students. If a student qualifies for this type of programming, it will be provided to him/her. An Advanced Learning Specialist (ALS) is primarily responsible for the child’s instruction in mathematics. However, grade level teachers, which includes the ALS, are free to co-plan learning opportunities that may include mixing groups of students for learning challenges. In addition to students who are formally identified for advanced math classes, the ALS may also work with other students with high abilities through our flexible service delivery model. Students who show a significant amount of readiness before or during a unit of study, may be recommended to join the advanced class for some learning activities. These decisions are made between the child’s math teacher and the ALS and is driven by the student’s current performance data.

Grades 3-4 Reading and Writing Courses

All students receive instruction in reading and writing within their homeroom classes. Learning goals are rigorous, based on Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and utilize Lucy Calkins’ workshop models as primary guides for instruction. The workshop model allows students to stay at the forefront of their learning capabilities, independent of other learners’ levels. Teachers utilize learning progressions to inform them of what each student needs next in his/her learning pathway. Learning progressions span multiple grade levels so teachers can provide above grade level work for students who demonstrate a need. Learning goals are highly individualized and derived from student work. Each elementary school has an Advanced Learning Specialists (ALS) assigned to grades 3-4. He/She serves on grade level teacher teams and supports teachers and their students who require accelerated and/or more complex tasks.

Middle School

Instruction in the academic areas for all students is centered around a standard district curriculum. Staff modify according to the instructional needs of the group and the individual student. Each student, regardless of placement, receives the same core curriculum. Grouping allows variation of pace, depth, breadth, and mode of instruction with which the material is studied.

Grade 5 Reading and Writing Courses

All students receive instruction in reading and writing within their homeroom classes. Learning goals are rigorous, based on Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and utilize the workshop models as primary guides for instruction. The workshop model allows students to stay at the forefront of their learning capabilities, independent of other learners’ levels. Teachers utilize learning progressions to inform them of what each student needs next in his/her learning pathway. Learning progressions span multiple grade levels so teachers can provide above grade level work for students who demonstrate a need. Learning goals are highly individualized and derived from student work.

Grades 6-8 English Language Arts (ELA) Courses

The middle school offers rigorous ELA courses. Three courses exist in Grades 6-8: Core, Explore, and Quest. These courses are all challenging, aligned with Common Core State Standards (CCSS), utilize the workshop model as a primary guide for instruction, and lead to a strong college-bound track later on. Students are assessed on a regular basis to determine their level of readiness for advanced programming. Review teams examine student performance indicators, aptitude, and learner characteristics in order to best match students with ELA courses. Placements are designed to meet the students where they are and keep them at the forefront of their learning capabilities.

If you have questions regarding these courses or the placement process, please contact your child’s school Principal or Jeff McHugh, Director of Teaching and Learning, at 847-604-7416.

Grades 5-8 Math Courses

The middle school offers rigorous math courses. Students are assessed on a regular basis to determine their level of readiness for accelerated programming. Review teams examine student performance indicators, aptitude, and learner characteristics in order to best match students with math courses. Math placements are designed to meet the students where they are and keep them at the forefront of their learning capabilities. When a student demonstrates a need for a course that is typically offered in a higher grade, he/she will be provided entrance into that level of course.

If you have questions regarding these courses or the identification process, please contact your child’s school Principal or Jeff McHugh, Director of Teaching and Learning, at 847-604-7416.

World Language

World language offerings at the middle school include: French, Spanish, Latin, and Mandarin. Advanced Mandarin courses are offered to students with prior participation in the Mandarin Language Program at Cherokee Elementary School. Language courses may be subject to sufficient enrollment.

Assessment Program

Teachers consider multiple forms of assessment in the total evaluation of a student’s progress, including but not limited to tests, quizzes, written reports, oral presentations, projects, discussions, and class participation. One type of evaluation is the use of standardized tests. Lake Forest District 67 uses standardized assessments to meet state requirements and to further three important district goals: 1) measuring student growth and progress, 2) monitoring curriculum strengths and weaknesses, and 3) assisting in student placement decisions. Teachers and administrators dedicate time to analyze this data to inform instruction for all students on an individual and group basis, as well as to look for curriculum strengths and weaknesses.

District 67 uses the NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) to measure academic growth and achievement in grades 2-8. All students in grades 3 -8 participate in the state mandated Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR), formerly known as PARCC, in the spring. Additionally, students in Grades 5 and 8 participate in the Illinois Science Assessment (ISA) in the spring. Parents receive reports for each standardized assessment in which a child participates.

Reporting Pupil Progress

Student progress is reported to parents through regularly scheduled parent-teacher conferences, progress reports and ongoing communication as necessary. Fall conferences take place in late October and spring conferences in early March. Scheduling information will be sent out by the school principals or team leaders as the conference dates near.

When a conference is scheduled and parent(s) are unavailable, the conference can be rescheduled at a mutually agreed upon time. Phone conferences are acceptable. Both parents and teachers have the right to ask for a conference at any time during the school year. Parents are encouraged to contact their child’s teacher outside these conference windows, as well, if the need arises.

Progress reports for students in grades 1-8 are sent home three times a year: November, February and May/June (end of the school year). Progress reports for Kindergartners are sent home in February and then at the end of the year. Kindergarten through grade 4 progress reports provide information on how students are achieving based on grade level standards. Beginning in grade 5, the progress report designates a letter grade for each subject. Parents of students in grades 5-8 may log into their PowerSchool account to see information on their child’s academic progress. Parents are encouraged to contact the individual teachers whenever there is a question regarding a child’s progress.

Promotion

Promotion from grade 8 is contingent upon students having earned minimum passing grades and having demonstrated sufficient social and emotional growth and development or upon the best judgment of school authorities who determine that it is in the best interest of the child that promotion be granted. Minimum requirements are demonstrated by maintaining a 1.00 average in all core classes for all three terms of the school year. Also, students must pass the United States and Illinois State Constitution Tests.